If you want an easy-to-grow exotic plant, the Monstera Deliciosa – aka Swiss Cheese Plant – is the plant for you! This gorgeous plant will transform your space faster than you can say Swiss Cheese! In this post I’m going to teach you how to grow a Monstera Deliciosa.
A bit of History and Characteristics
So let’s start with a little Monstera history. The botanical name of this plant is Monstera Deliciosa and it is native to South America. The Monstera is such a vigorous plant that it is considered invasive in warmer climates. You may know this already but the Swiss Cheese plant is actually a vine which means that it can climb using what’s called aerial roots. In the wild it climbs trees but will definitely climb a building wall or anything else in its way. It’s quite amazing.
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Now let’s dig into the characteristics of this climbing beauty. In its juvenile stage it has very distinct heart shaped foliage. As the plant ages, the new leaves get bigger and bigger. Once the plant hits a certain unknown age, the new foliage will unfurl revealing fenestrations or splits/holes in the leaves.
Another important characteristic about the Swiss Cheese plant is that it produces aerial roots. Many new plant parents get freaked out by these because as the plants age the aerial roots get bigger and longer. You can tuck them into the pot or let them trail along the floor but for goodness sake don’t cut them.
Moving on let’s talk about how to actually care for this plant starting with light.
How to Grow Monstera Deliciosa
Because this plant in nature lives in the understory of trees that suggest that it doesn’t require direct sun/ bright light. It is speculated that the fenestrations on the foliage is to allow light to pass through to the rest of the plant. How cool is that?! In your home, give the Monstera plant bright indirect light.
Pots and soil
Monsteras do not require any special pot; only that it has a drainage hole to allow water to flow through. The same with soil the Swiss Cheese plant is not picky. I use PROMIX soil mixed with Orchid Bark and Perlite for all of my non-picky plants. It doesn’t hold water for too long but also isn’t fast draining.
Tropical plants love moist soil. When I say moist I don’t mean wet. Damp maybe a better word. For new plant parents I suggest either using a moisture meter or your finger to determine when to water your plant. The moisture meter will tell you how wet your soil is and from there you can determine if it’s time to water or not. Using your index finger stick it into the soil about an inch down. When you pull your finger out determine if the soil is dry or moist. If it’s dry give the plant a through watering. If it’s moist leave the plant alone and check back in a few days.
If you don’t want to stick your finger in the soil try a moisture meter.
I have not found the Swiss Cheese plant to be too picky with fertilizer. They prefer a 20-20-20 fertilizer during the growing season backing off in the winter. I always use fish emulsion for my plants which is a 5-1-1. It’s organic and I don’t have to worry about fertilizer burn on the foliage. No matter what you choose do your research and follow the instructions.
So let’s say you want more Swiss Cheese plants but don’t want to buy another. Propagation is your best friend. This plant is so easy to propagate that a baby could do it. I prefer to make my cut just under an aerial root. Then I stick the cutting in water until it produces a good strong set of new roots. Once it’s well rooted I pot it in soil and boom! New plant! Here are two ways to propagate your Swiss Cheese plant!
- Gather your supplies. You will need a healthy monstera deliciosa plant, a sharp knife or pruning shears, a rooting hormone (optional), a glass or jar, and water.
- Take a cutting. Choose a healthy stem that is at least 4 inches long and has at least one node. A node is the point where a leaf or aerial root grows from the stem.
- Make the cut. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to make a clean cut just below a node. If you are using a rooting hormone, dip the cut end of the stem in the hormone.
- Place the cutting in water. Fill a glass or jar with clean water and place the cutting in it. The node should be submerged in the water, but the leaves should not.
- Place the glass in a bright, indirect light location. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh.
- Wait for roots to develop. It may take several weeks for roots to develop. Once the roots are at least 2 inches long, you can plant the cutting in a pot of soil.
- Gather your supplies. You will need a healthy monstera deliciosa plant, a sharp knife or pruning shears, a small pot, some sphagnum moss, and aluminum foil.
- Choose a stem. Choose a healthy stem that is at least 6 inches long and has at least two nodes.
- Prepare the stem. Make a cut just below a node. Then, make another cut 1 inch below the first cut. Gently peel back the bark between the two cuts, exposing the stem.
- Wrap the stem in sphagnum moss. Dampen the sphagnum moss and wrap it around the exposed section of the stem. Secure the moss in place with aluminum foil.
- Attach the pot. Place the pot with the sphagnum moss next to the stem. Use a piece of wire or string to attach the pot to the stem.
- Water the moss. Keep the sphagnum moss moist by watering it regularly.
- Wait for roots to develop. It may take several months for roots to develop. Once the roots are at least 2 inches long, you can cut the stem below the roots and plant the cutting in a pot of soil.
Growing a Swiss Cheese plant is so rewarding. It is a plant that is beginner friendly and so adaptable. Will you be growing a Swiss Cheese plant?